For every person that loves LeBron James, there is another person that is a hater. James dominated the league while on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, and this season he has been back to dominating while on the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he still somehow has people that criticize his game, no matter what he does. Recently, though, James called some of his critics out for being blatantly wrong.
LeBron James dominated in the East with the Cavaliers and Heat
For the majority of his career, James dominated in the Eastern Conference. In his first stint with the Cavaliers, James and the Cavs were almost always championship contenders. He led them to five straight playoff appearances, and to the NBA Finals in 2006-07, as well as the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008-09.
Then, starting in 2010-11, James proved to be one of the best players of all-time. James took the Miami Heat to four straight NBA Finals, winning back-to-back championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13. He then went back to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, and led them to four straight NBA Finals as well, winning one championship in 2015-16.
Despite his immense success, many people have questioned if he could have the same success in the Western Conference. For most of his career, many have considered the West to be the deeper conference with more quality teams, while the East has only had a couple of championship contenders each year.
James then went to the Lakers (in the Western Conference) in the summer of 2018. After the team struggled in his first season in LA, and he only played in 55 games, the lowest in his career, James and the Lakers were dominating this year before the NBA suspended its season.
James was averaging 25.7 points per game to go with 7.9 rebounds and a league-leading 10.6 assists. He easily made himself one of the serious contenders for league MVP too. James led the Lakers to a 49-14 record, the best in the Western Conference, and the second-best in the entire NBA.
He certainly proved that he can still dominate in the Western Conference.
James recently sent a message to his critics
While he and the Lakers prepare for the season restart in the Orlando bubble, James discussed the MVP race.
As he did that, he made sure to call out his critics.
“As far as the MVP race, I think I showed what I’m capable of doing, not only individually but from a team perspective, us being No. 1 in the West,” James said, according to The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver. “There was a lot of conversation about, ‘LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West, what can he do?’ I heard all of that.”
Well, he proved those doubters wrong, that’s for sure. He went on. “To have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time, and the way that I was playing, that’s definitely a good feeling.”
Can he and the Los Angeles Lakers win an NBA championship?
The Los Angeles Lakers head into the NBA restart in a really good spot. They are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They will probably stay there after the seeding games too as they are ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers by five-and-a-half games.
In addition to James, they certainly have enough talent to go on a deep run in the playoffs. The Lakers have Anthony Davis, who is averaging 26.7 points per game and 9.4 rebounds. They also have Kyle Kuzma (12.5 points per game) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (9.5 points per game).
Additionally, the Lakers added J.R. Smith, who helped James win a championship in Cleveland, and Dion Waiters, who averaged 14 points per game between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
The teams that will most likely stand in their way, though, are the Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Clippers have reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, as well as Paul George, and two other guys that average over 18 points per game in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. The Bucks, on the other hand, have reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, in addition to Khris Middleton. Those two have ultimately led the Bucks to the No. 1 record in the entire NBA.
Those teams, and a few others, can make it hard on the Lakers. James and Davis, however, will be hard to stop as they give the Lakers an excellent chance to leave the bubble as NBA champions.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference